A Washington Post story last week about the spread of methamphetamine in the capital region was “poorly reported,” contends media critic Jack Shafer in Slate.com. Shafer argues that the Post story, which was summarized in Crime & Justice News, “embraces meth cliché, half truth, hyperbole, and broken logic at every opportunity.” Shafer says the Post article reports that meth use is growing, “yet no supporting data are presented. In fact, the best national data about first-time users of methamphetamine are fairly flat.”
The Post cites an increase in the number of addicts, but no supporting data are supplied. Meth use is growing “exponentially” in Maryland and Virginia, a law enforcement officer tells the paper. Then, Shafer says, the Post “reverses field and states this brilliant truth: ‘Experts said one of the biggest problems in bringing attention to the meth problem in the area is the lack of reliable statistics on the number of users.’ So, if there are no reliable statistics, how can you argue an increase in use?, he asks.